Kaohsiung residents’ longing for a local professional baseball team has finally come to an end! The TSG Hawks, a Kaohsiung-based team owned by Taiwan Steel Group (TSG), officially entered Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) as the league’s sixth team on April 27, 2022.
TSG has committed NT$100 million to the local baseball revitalization fund. With Chengcing Lake Stadium as its home field, the team strives to strengthen its roots in Kaohsiung, and aims to build “a team loved by Kaohsiung citizens.”
The TSG Hawks hired Lin Chen-hsien as team coordinator to organize the team from scratch. They are scheduled to compete in CPBL’s Minor League in 2023 to accumulate practical experience, and then make their Major League debut in 2024.
Hoping to usher in a golden age for southern fans who have been crying out to see determined players at their best, the TSG Hawks have been actively building up their strength. The first player signed by the team is the no. 1 pick in the 2022 CPBL draft: shortstop Zeng Zih-you, a graduate of Taoyuan Municipal Pingjen Senior High School. Recruiting local players is an important facet of the team’s commitment to its home city. Accordingly, this year, of the 30 young players selected by the TSG Hawks, 10 live or study in Kaohsiung.
The TSG Hawks began training this September, and it has hired Hirokazu Ibata, an Olympic gold medalist and recipient of seven Nippon Professional Baseball Golden Gloves, to serve as a special instructor (infield defense coach) to impart various theories and concepts to the players. By moves such as these, the TSG Hawks are injecting new vigor and vitality into Taiwan’s professional baseball scene.
In preparation for the opening of the 2023 season, the TSG Hawks are interacting and exchanging ideas with schools and teams in Kaohsiung as part of the local baseball revitalization plan. This October, Hirokazu Ibata led players including Huang Bing-yang, Ciou Bang, and Sun Yi-shen to visit Kao-Yuan Vocational High School of Technology & Commerce. The TSG Hawks offered guidance and instruction to the school’s baseball team. Lin Chen-hsien was also present to exchange ideas with coaches and players.
Next year, fans of the TSG Hawks will be able to see the team in action at Chengcing Lake Stadium. From 2028, the Yellow Line of the Kaohsiung Metro will serve the Chengcing Lake area, making it even more convenient for fans to come and watch games. Southern Taiwan’s baseball paradise is sure to get fans’ adrenaline flowing!